Tuesday, 16th September 2014

Cannabis shame hits top school

Three pupils have been ordered to leave Ellesmere College after being caught taking drugs, it has emerged.

The un-named pupils at the college were caught using cannabis.

Authorities at the school, which charges up to £8,679 a term, today said they took immediate action on discovering drug use among a small group of senior pupils.

Headmaster Brendan Wignall said the discovery of drugs in school, which has 600 pupils, made for a ‘rare and very sad’ situation.

He added the school took misuse of drugs very seriously and had been working closely with the police. who have been investigating the incident.

A school spokeswoman said: “Ellesmere College can confirm that it has recently discovered the use of cannabis in the school among a small group of senior pupils.”

In a statement, Mr Wignall said: “Three students have left the school as a result of our investigation.

“We are dealing with the situation in line with the school’s policies and procedures and with the full knowledge of the police, who have been extremely helpful.

“This is a rare and very sad situation but as soon as it came to our attention – which happened very quickly – we took immediate positive action.”

Mr Wignall added: “Drugs will not be tolerated at Ellesmere College.”

Two of the three pupils at the centre of the probe are in examination years.

School authorities ordered them to leave  with immediate effect, but Mr Wignall said the school will support them through their exams in the summer term.

Civic leaders welcomed the way school has handled the incident.

Councillor Alan Clarke, mayor of Ellesmere, said: “It’s a great surprise because the standards of the college are so high.

“I think the speedy way they have dealt with it has upheld their standing.

“It’s commendable that the pupils involved who have exams to sit are still being supported by the school.

“Many years ago in the 60s and 70s, during the Flower Power era, Ellesmere had a bit of a reputation, but I’m happy to say the town and surrounding areas are no longer hubs for drug activity because of the pro-active work done by the police.”

The school, for boys and girls aged seven to 18, including boarders over the age of 10, counts former England rugby union captain Bill Beaumont among its alumni.

Mason Gascoigne, son of former footballer Paul, is understood to have attended the school in recent years.

He was named in sports reports in its annual magazine.